612-644-9781 info@crossfitslipstream.com

Thank You Note to My Body

Dear Body,

Not many things remain constant throughout our lives, but you’ve been there through it all, so I wanted to finally take the time to thank you for all the lessons you’ve taught me along the road.

“Rather than focusing on what I can’t do and who I don’t look like, I now choose to focus on the incredible things that my body allows me to do, day in and day out.”

First of all, thank you for teaching me that your appearance and health don’t always go hand in hand. When I started college, for the first time I felt pressure to look good, which was what initially lead me to develop an interest in fitness. I started doing traditional bodybuilding exercises and tried to stop eating refined carbs, all in the hopes that my body would start to look better, and this would make me a happier person. I didn’t care that I felt tired and weak all the time, and was getting sick almost every other week. I checked the mirror every day to see if I grew a 6-pack overnight. When progress didn’t come as quick as I’d hoped, I got discouraged with my body, thinking I would never be good enough.

Related: Measuring Progress Off the Scale

When January of 2017 came along and I started my internship at CrossFit Slipstream, how I viewed my body started to shift. For the first time in a long time, CrossFit gave me something to work towards. I wanted to lift heavier weights, learn difficult gymnastics skills, and do a workout faster than I’d done it before. I started to view eating as a way to fuel my body, instead of make it look different, so I started to pay attention to what foods made me feel healthy, strong, and ready to work. Within weeks, I started to sleep better, feel stronger, and generally felt happier. I stopped paying as much attention to the aesthetic side of fitness. But a funny thing happened, my body composition continued to improve thanks to the work I was doing in the gym that I actually enjoyed, but I now saw this as more of a side benefit than my main motivator.

Related: Positive Self-Talk: What is it Good for Anyway?

Throughout this process, I started to become increasingly aware of how amazing the human body is. Our bodies constantly adapt to what we put them through, placing us in a state of constant improvement. Weights that seemed impossibly heavy when I started CrossFit, I’m now able to lift for multiple reps at a time. I can do gymnastics elements that used to scare me to death. Rather than focusing on what I can’t do and who I don’t look like, I now choose to focus on the incredible things that my body allows me to do, day in and day out.

So thank you, body, for proving to me that I am already strong, that I am enough, and that how I look does not have to define my self worth. Thank you for allowing me to adventure and do the things I love to do, like skiing, hiking, CrossFit, yoga, and traveling. Even when you’re sore, tired, and cranky, you endure and teach me how to love myself a little bit more. Thank you for constantly improving, and doing things now that I never imagined I could do. While I could never truly repay you, I will continue to strive to treat you as best as I can, so that I can do the things I love as long as I live.

–Jay Alexander

Coach/Trainer

jay@crossfitslipstream.com

“It’s Easy, Just Fall!”: My Experience at the Pose Running Clinic

Unlike any other athletic sport or skill, running often goes un-coached. Even in college cross country, coaches focused on the mileage, speed, hydration, or the mental game involved in running–but not the actual form of running itself. I left the world of running all together because I found my body felt more broken the more I ran. So I was excited to learn Slipstream was hosting a Pose Method Running clinic, which seeks to provide the framework to run more efficiently and (most importantly) pain free.


  “The Pose Method is simple: Pose—Fall—Pull”

Image result for the pose method

“The Pose Method is simple: Pose—Fall—Pull!” The clinic began with John running us through different body-awareness drills. We removed our shoes (gasp!) and practiced walking around pointing our feet outwards (duck walk), pointing our feet inwards (pigeon), and pointing our feet in neutral. I could feel all of the little muscles in my feet and ankles groan and awaken with this diversity of movement. I realized that in CrossFit I take the time to feel what my body was doing, but I was hardly mindful about my movement during a run.

Related:The Mindfulness of Movement

Similarly, I realized that I do not pay attention to my breathing patterns when I am not exercising, and so was shocked to see how much my chest rose when John had us lay down with a kettle bell on our belly to see if we were belly (diaphragmatic) breathing or chest breathing.


Pose

After becoming more aware of our bodies, John began teaching us about the Pose portion of the method. The Pose is essentially a position that anyone, regardless of how efficiently they run, reaches at some point during a stride. In this position shoulders, hips, and ankles are stacked, the body leans slightly forward, and the knee bends such that your ankles are under your hips.


Fall

Once in the Pose, your body is optimally positioned to use gravity to help you fall forward. Everyone has a Center of Mass (COM) also known as a Center of Gravity somewhere around the belly-button/midsection (depending on your build). If you can learn to gently lean your COM past your base of support (which is the ball of your front-foot) then you don’t have to waste any energy pushing away from the ground; you literally just fall.


Pull

The Pull relates to the foot that will be moving as you fall forward to catch yourself. Instead of driving your knee forward and out, which is how we normally practice running, in the Pose Method you pull your heel up to your hip and quickly relax that pulled leg so that it falls beneath your hips. Gravity is what gives you forward motion, not your quads. Below you can see the difference between traditional perceptions of the running form and the Pose Method running form.


Below is my before and after video. As you can see, in my before-video I aggressively pushed off the ground and reached my front foot in front of my COM. If you look at my after-video, you can see that my shin is more vertical and is beginning to land closer to my hip. I’m also thinking about how I can use gravity to help me move forward as evidenced by my forward lean. Maybe running wasn’t the problem for me after all. Maybe it was the way I was running that was leading to my injuries.

Take Aways:

  • Running doesn’t have to be painful and synonymous with injury

  • There are efficient and inefficient ways to run. If you are experiencing aches, pains, or injuries, you are likely running inefficiently.

  • Running is something that needs to be learned, just like any other sport and it begins with BODY AWARENESS

Here are some tips to begin teaching yourself how to have more BODY AWARENESS when you walk/run:

  1. Take your shoes off and try walking around barefoot. How do your feet naturally hit the ground?

  2. Slowly move your body weight on different points on your feet: heels, balls of your feet, outside, inside. How do your feet respond?

  3. Go on a shoeless 60 meter jog. What do you notice about how you land? What feels sore after?

Related:Why Personal Training?

This article can’t encompass all of the intricacies involved with learning and re-programing your body and mind to do the Pose Method. So if you are interested in learning more about the Pose Method, or in potentially receiving personal training in the Pose Method, feel free to contact john@crossfitslipstream.com.

–Jasmine Gerritsen

Coach/Trainer

Jasmine@crossfitslipstream.com

 

The Importance of Recovery

If you’ve been doing an exercise program, chances are you’ve had one of those days where certain muscles feel sore to the touch, and even stairs look like mountains. This all-too-familiar feeling is known as delayed onset muscle soreness or “DOMS.” It’s usually worst 24-48 hours after exercise. And while some soreness is just part of the package, there are ways we can make sure that our body recovers optimally so that we can make the most of our time in the gym.

“While trying to improve our fitness, we have to take recovery just as seriously as exercise to ensure that our body is not placed under constant physiological stress, which can lead to more harm than good.”

To better understand why recovery is so important, we first have to grasp that exercise is stressful. Exercise, especially high intensity exercise, places demands on our cardiovascular, muscular, and nervous systems. We become better able to handle exercise stress through a variety of adaptations like building muscle, increasing red blood cell count, and many more. Repeatedly placing small amounts of stress on ourselves makes them better in numerous ways, as long as we allow ourselves to recover. Constant stress in any area of life is never beneficial, including exercise. While trying to improve our fitness, we have to take recovery just as seriously as exercise.  We don’t get fitter by doing hard workouts.  We get fitter by recovering from hard workouts.

Your workout actually causes a decrease in your level of fitness due to fatigue and the stress placed on us. When we allow ourselves to recover, our fitness level first returns to normal.  But here’s where it gets awesome: we react to the stress of a workout by building extra capacity, in case we see that workload or more next time.  This is known as “supercompensation,” and it’s when our “gains” happen.

But it gets better: when another training stimulus is placed on us  during this stage of supercompensation, the cycle repeats and our fitness levels continue to climb.

The key to taking advantage of supercompensation is making sure we don’t perform similar workloads too soon or too late after a workout. Workout too late after the stage of supercompensation has ended, and we’ve essentially missed our chance and our fitness levels could stay stagnant. However, if another training stimulus is placed on the same muscles or systems before full recovery happens, overtraining can occur and our fitness level can decline. The big takeaway is to listen to our bodies and make sure we’re taking recovery seriously to make sure our body is ready for its next workout.

When you aren’t feeling ready for another workout, listen to your body, keep the workout light, less intense, or work different movements and energy systems than your last workout.  And take a rest day if you need to.  Don’t worry, there will still be plenty of fun workouts in your future if you take care of yourself and prioritize recovery.

Related: 7 Bedtime Routines to Help You Sleep Tight

As far as HOW to recover, sleep is king. Without enough quality sleep, it can be close to impossible for your body to recover after a workout.  Seven and a half hours, give or take thirty minutes.

Next comes nutrition.  Specifically, make sure you’re consuming adequate protein will make sure your muscles and other tissues have what they need to build back up after being broken down during a workout.

Also important are mobility and flexibility work, which will keep joints and muscles happy and healthy so that you can keep working hard in the gym. This will also help shorten the time you feel stiff and sore.

Feel free to ask any of the coaches how you can best recover next time you’re in the gym, or shoot me an email at jay@crossfitslipstream.com if you have any more questions about your recovery.

Related: Protein Intake for Best Results

–Jay Alexander

Coach/Trainer

jay@crossfitslipstream.com

APRIL MEMBER HIGHLIGHT – MEET TIM!

Why did you decide to try CrossFit?
I was at a point in my life where  I really wasn’t happy where I was physically or emotionally. I felt tired all the time, bored and just stuck. I reached kind of a breaking point where I knew I wanted to do something drastic but also recognized that I don’t know what I’m doing. My brother had a lot of success with CrossFit but is a much better athlete than I am. So I researched CrossFit boxes throughout the area. I wanted to do something really hard and out of my comfort zone, but I also heard the horror stories about overly aggressive coaches and people exerting themselves to the point of injury. I had to know that the gym would be the right fit. Crossfit Slipstream is all about teaching and a positive, supportive atmosphere so I took a leap of faith and signed up for the New Year, New You program. 
How is having a CrossFit coach changed your workout or fitness results?
This is the single biggest factor in my success. I came knowing practically nothing about not only weightlifting but just how my body worked in general. John and the coaches have been incredibly kind and patient with me as I tried to learn how to straighten my back for deadlifts, how to use the right muscles on a pull up and just basic stretching. I also know John has my back. He’s actually stopped me from doing workouts before if I get too tired or my form goes bad because he cares about me not getting hurt. That means a lot, especially in a sport where yelling and going beyond where you should sometimes happens. Since I’ve learned some of the basics, I’ve been able to go the gym on my own to weight train with proper results. I lost about 25 pounds since I started back in January 2017, and the cool part is i’m starting to gain some of that weight back as muscle! I’m also running now, which is something I never really did, but wouldn’t have tried if not for CrossFit Slipstream.
How has doing CrossFit affected your health and/or life?
Gamechanging! Apart from the physical aspects (I have shoulders now!) the biggest part is how it’s affected my emotional outlook. I went through a lot personally this past year and my fall back to get through a lot of it was working out. The things that used to annoy me in life don’t bug me as much anymore because I just feel more relaxed and confident. I’m able to handle more responsibilites in my life while simultaneously not feeling as much stress as I used to prior to exercise and knowing what I’m putting in my body. It’s at the point now where I start feeling weird if i’m not in the gym.
What is your favorite CrossFit movement?
Deadlifts. There is something incredibly satisfying about picking something heavy off the ground. It’s a great accomplishment. Weight doesn’t lie to you. It either goes up or it doesn’t, so when you lift it and hit a new PR or that one extra rep, it’s your accomplishment. It’s a great feeling.
What would you say to someone who is thinking about trying CrossFit?
If you were where I was last year – tired, bored and anxious to change something – then come to CrossFit Slipstream. They will give you the tools and the motivation to go as far as you want to go. Also you will be cared for and encouraged along the way, which will in turn inspire you to go farther than you believed you could. This is the right atmosphere for the next step of your journey.

Positive Self-talk: What is it Good for Anyway?

“Dig deep girl! C’mon finish within the next 30 seconds.” I envision my coach and mentor, Rosario, watching and telling me how I need to finish the last few reps. I can’t stop if she’s watching. I can’t fail when she is telling me I will succeed if I do one more rep.

“Think about self-talk as a form of mental conditioning whereby you are visualizing and focusing on positive elements of performance and distancing yourself from emotions and negative thoughts that distract you.”

In my own athletic experiences I have found that my mind easily trumps how my body feels. If the workout is cool enough or if I have a competition I have used mental conditioning and self-talk to perform even when horrifically sick. Conversely, I have experienced days where I’m feeling so down and out that 70% of my max feels like 100%. It is days like these that positive self-talk is most valuable.

Related: Gratitude: The Art of the 5-Minute Journal

But what exactly is positive self-talk and how can it benefit you come your next WOD or PR attempt? Self-talk is deliberately talking to yourself in a way that creates a desired emotional and (hopefully) physical response. There are three main kinds of self-talk: motivational, instructional, and imagery-outcome.


MOTIVATIONAL SELF-TALK

Motivational self-talk is when you repeat a positive mantra or saying in order to help you concentrate and psych yourself up to perform. Some studies have shown that the most effective way to do self-talk is to talk to yourself in third person. For example, instead of saying, “I can do this,” I would say, “Jasmine can do this!” In the third person, you are better able to distance yourself from emotions that may inhibit your performance, and focus on the specific demands of the moment. Some studies even suggest imagining someone you look up to coaching and encouraging you through a task.


INSTRUCTIONAL SELF-TALK

Instructional self-talk is the process whereby athletes talk themselves through a movement. “Elbows up, hips back, chest up,” are all examples of self-cueing, and studies have shown that instructional self-talk can be incredibly efficacious when used for accomplishing fine motor skills like cleans, snatches, and squats. This is a great form of self-talk if you are not necessarily into being your own cheerleader. Instead, you can think of yourself as your own coach.


IMAGERY-OUTCOME SELF-TALK

This form of self-talk is part talk and part visualization that you can couple with motivational or instructional self-talk. Imagery-outcome self-talk asks you not only to talk to yourself positively, but also to envision yourself succeeding at the task at hand. For example, say I have one last attempt to PR my deadlift. I would want to take a second to visualize how I want to look as I execute the deadlift, how I want to feel as I execute the lift, and how awesome I will feel after I complete the deadlift. This way, I have primed my mind and body to execute the movement.

Related:The Mindfulness of Movement

My challenge to you is to prepare positive self-talk scripts ahead of time. Pick a positive saying you can repeat in your head over and over. Think about who you would want on the sidelines telling you to keep going. Practice visualizing exactly how you would like to look when performing a movement, and most importantly, visualize yourself successfully completing that movement. Think about self-talk as a form of mental conditioning whereby you are visualizing and focusing on positive elements of performance and distancing yourself from emotions and negative thoughts that distract you.

If you need help coming up with scripts to use or are finding yourself constantly thinking negatively during a workout, feel free to email me at jasmine@crossfitslipstream.com. Together we can figure out ways to hold yourself accountable to positive self-talk during class.

Until next time, dig deep and crush your next workout!

Jasmine Gerritsen

Coach/Trainer

jasmine@crossfitslipstream.com

Why Personal Training?

Intensity is the bread and butter of our programming, making it possible to improve your fitness by taking one-hour group classes a few times a week. However, group sessions may not focus focus on a new skill or technique that you’ve been wanting to learn.  Or a class may moves too fast to really sink your teeth into a movement.  Or you may have a specific goal in mind, and it isn’t happening as fast as you want in group classes.  If any of these feel like they apply, you should consider a personal training session with one of your coaches here at Slipstream. In this post, we’ll go over a couple of the key benefits you could gain from one-on-one sessions. While there’s nothing quite like working out with a group that motivates you, personal training can help you reach a specific goal or goals.


FOCUS

The biggest difference between a group class and a personal training session is the increase in focus: from you, from your coach, and from the workout. Scientific studies consistently support the hypothesis that supervised exercise leads to faster rates of improvement (usually measured in increases in strength). While we pride ourselves on providing attentive instruction in all our classes here at Slipstream, personal training takes this a step further.  Instead of sharing a coach with a group of people, your coach is focused on you, your goals, and making your time in the gym the best it can be.

Related: The Mindfulness of Movement


INDIVIDUALIZATION

Everybody (and every body) is different, and while our coaches are great at adapting workouts to each individual, personal training takes this a step further. Your coach will spend time going over your unique strengths, weaknesses, and goals to design workouts specific to your individual goals, be they skill, strength, endurance, or whatever you choose.

Related: Continuing Education: Benefits of Learning New Skills


ACCOUNTABILITY

Another benefit of personal training sessions is increased accountability.  You’re less likely to pass up a workout, or just go easy, when you have an appointment with a coach and a program specific to you. We are all for taking a rest day when it’s needed, but more accountability might be exactly what you need to get you in the gym from day-to-day.  Know also that your trainer will adjust the workout to your abilities that day.  So if you’re low on gas, it may be a great chance to work on a mobility or other issue that is holding you back, instead of the 20:00 thrasher originally planned.


EDUCATION

The one-on-one format of personal training also allows you time to ask plenty of questions about your workouts, or anything else you’ve been curious about. For example, a lot of times we don’t have time in class to dig into the “why” behind the workout. Why do we do certain exercise? Why are we doing X number of reps? etc. Also, you’ll be able to find out what “homework” you might need to do in order to reach your goals. For example, your coach will be able to individually address mobility, recovery, and other things you can do at home that can help make the most of your time in the gym.


“The biggest difference you’ll notice between a group class and a personal training session is a general increase in focus: from you, from your coach, and from the workout.”

CrossFit Slipstream exists to help you get the results you want, but we can’t do that without help from you. It starts with your initial goals statement when you join. Your free consults are a great time to continue the process. But if you’re wanting to take the next step, reach a specific goal, or reach it sooner, personal training is the shortest distance between you and that goal. If you’re interested in setting up a personal training appointment, contact us by email at info@crossfitslipstream.com, or speak with Susan or any of the coaches at the gym and we’ll be happy to help.

–Jay Alexander

Coach/Trainer

jay@crossfitslipstream.com

MEMBER HIGHLIGHT – MEET JESS!

 
Why did you decide to try CrossFit?
I actually never thought I could do CrossFit. I’ve always avoided sports and physical activity. I had a friend who had been doing CrossFit and told me to try the New You Challenge. I had recently had a daughter and I felt like I was at all time low for my body’s fitness. On a whim, I signed up the the challenge and started that next day. my
  
How is having a CrossFit coach changed your workout or fitness results?
Well, for one, I would have never seen the results I have seen without one! Knowing someone is watching me and helping me makes me always aware of what I am doing. I also never have to worry that I am doing a movement wrong. Before CrossFit in typical gyms, I would move to the back of group fitness classes and I would poorly do my weight training. I often gave up when I couldn’t figure something out. Now, I push myself in my classes and I’m proud of my achievements. My coaches recognize my strengths and know when to push me and when to help scale my activities. There is absolutely no way I could have made it to where I am now (and where I am going to be!) without the help of my CrossFit coaches. 
  
How has doing CrossFit affected your health and/or life?
I am on my way to being as fit, if not more fit, than I was in high school. I have lost many inches all over my body and I have noticed that many tasks in my everyday life have been easier. I have more energy for at work and I can still come and have some left to play with my daughter. I am also realizing that I am craving movement! Times when I have been sitting for a while, I want to get up and run – I never wanted to run anywhere before! I officially can consider myself an athlete when I would never have used that word to describe me previously! CrossFit has made me want to improve in other areas of my life as well. It has made me want to fuel my body with good nutrition so I can make better achievements. It has also opened my mind to other opportunities that I may have been too scared of in the past because they required athletic movement. 
Something that was unexpected was the change in my mental health. I realize that no matter how tired I am or how bad of a day it has been, nothing cures it better than a good WOD with my coaches. 
 
What is your favorite CrossFit movement?
I may be crazy, but I love squats! 
 
What would you say to someone who is thinking about trying CrossFit?
Just do it! But prepare yourself to get addicted. CrossFit has a scary connotation that it is only for extremely physically fit athletes. I’m here to tell you that that is not true! CrossFit will make you feel like a beast and it will make you a better person. I am better at my job and I am a better mom/wife, all thanks to CrossFit!

The Mindfulness of Movement

What do you think is harder? 10 quick squats or one 30 second squat? Instinctively you might look at the reps and say, “Jasmine the 10 quick squats are harder…that’s 10 to 1!” Lets put this to the test. Do 10 air squats; take a break, and then do one 30 second squat.  I want the entire down process to take 15 seconds and the up to take 15 seconds. I want SLOW. What did you feel? Was it hard for you to keep a neutral spine all the way down and up? Did your knees cave in? Did you struggle?

“We can get caught up in the number of reps or rounds for time and forget to slow things down.”

When we take the time to think about and breakdown our movements, we can begin to reveal our weaknesses. Oftentimes it is the end-range of motion where we are the weakest because we are less able to generate tension (think bottom of the squat or pull-up). These are the spots we tend to mask with speed by kipping our way through or bouncing out of the bottom.

Related: The Importance of Foundational Strength

Mindfulness during movement enables us to catch our movement faults and correct them. Let’s say during a squat my knees have the tendency to cave in and I continually feel low back pain after. I might take a mindful approach by removing the weight and practicing super slow squats with just the bar. Every time I feel my knees cave in or my upper back/shoulders dip forward I remember to squeeze the glutes, push the knees out, and stand up tall. Now I will be able to practice more efficient movement patterns that I can reinforce during the WOD.


By taking a slower, more mindful approach we can think about addressing some of the following questions:

  • Are your knees or ankles caving in during a squat or hinge movement like the deadlift, clean, box jump, or wall ball? That’s a great time to pull out the band and do some x-walks and practice the bracing sequence.

  • Are you able to maintain an upright neutral spine throughout the entire lift or movement? If not, consider breaking the movement up (i.e. hang clean) or shortening the movement (i.e. deadlift from plates).

  • Can you pause at various points during a movement and be stable? If not, take the time to pause at that sticking point and correct yourself.

  • Where do you feel tightness or looseness?

  • What movements do you speed through? Why are you speeding through them?


I’m not saying you need to start super-slow training every movement you come across, for that would be torturous and unpleasant. What I am saying is, when not doing a WOD, take the time to feel out your body and how you execute a particular movement. Mobility guru Kelly Starrett is a big proponent of “owning the position”:

“We need to learn not only how to move well through a movement but also be able to stop at any point during the movement, breathe and still be able to maintain a braced position.”

This is HARD. And I am not expecting you to be able to hold the bottom of a squat for a minute at your 3-rep max. But I want you to start being more present with your body as you tackle different movements. Coaches are a great resource and you should feel free to ask us for help to isolate weaknesses in your movements. Taking slow-mo videos or using apps like Technique, can also help you learn to identify when you are moving in a way that is 1) inefficient and 2) potentially leaving you susceptible to injury.

Related: What is the Functional Movement Screen and How Can it Help You?

So what’s our take away with all this?

“I challenge you to approach our warm-ups, practice reps, skill work, and strength work mindfully.”

Really pay attention to how your body is moving through a particular movement and if something doesn’t feel right, or if a coach tells you something is not right, pause and feel where your body is in space and then repeat until you can “own” that particular part in the movement.

Below are a list of great movements to begin this practice:

  • body squat

  • pull-up

  • push up

  • super light deadlift

  • back squat

  • overhead press

  • hang clean

  • end position of the squat clean

  • box jump (landing position)

  • hollow rock and back extension

If you would like individualized help in recognizing the spots in a movement that you need to work on, consider scheduling a personal training session with a coach or request a Functional Movement Screen with John.

Until next time, stay mindful!

–Jasmine Gerritsen

Coach/Trainer

jasmine@crossfitslipstream.com

 

What to Expect From the CrossFit Open

For CrossFit fans across the globe, the most wonderful time of the year is upon us, as the Slipstream Open officially kicks off on February 22. Whether this will be your first Open or your fifth, this post will address what you can expect when you walk into the gym the next five weekends.  The Slipstream Open is our take on the CrossFit Open, a worldwide online competition that is the first step in making it to the CrossFit Games.

“The workouts will push you, the community will support you, and chances are you’ll surprise yourself somewhere along the way.”

Related: 5 Tips for Watching the CrossFit Games 

But that doesn’t mean we have to be elite athletes to participate. Each week, a workout is announced and we’ll all complete them together during the Saturday morning class (with make- ups on Monday at 6AM and Noon). The workouts will push you, the community will support you, and chances are you’ll surprise yourself somewhere along the way.


THE WORKOUTS

If you’re still reading, you’re probably curious about what the workouts will entail this year. While we have to wait until Thursday of each week to find out, we can look to past years to predict what we’ll see. As you read this though, keep in mind that there are multiple versions of each workout, so there WILL be a workout you can do.

The CrossFit Open began in 2011, and there are 8 movements we’ve seen every year: Double-unders, a snatch variation, muscle-ups, toes-to-bar, wall balls, thrusters, pull-ups, and everyone’s favorite: burpees. Essentially, you’re as good as guaranteed to see these. Some others seen fairly often include deadlifts, box jumps, power cleans, and rowing. However, at least one new movement gets introduced each year.  Last year it was dumbbell work. What will it be this year? Your guess is as good as mine, but some things we’ve never seen are sumo deadlift high pulls, squats of any variation, rope climbs, any kettlebell movement, strict press, and any strict gymnastics movement.

The average length of all 36 previous Open workouts is 11 minutes and 10 seconds. The shortest lasted 3 minutes (with the possibility of extending it if you completed the allotted work) and the longest was 24 minutes. All but 5 workouts have been an AMRAP format, with the most common time lengths being 10 minutes and 7 minutes, both seen in 5 workouts. What this tells us is that even though the workouts are tough, most don’t last very long. Neither are they terribly short, so pacing is always an issue. But if all this CrossFit geek speak is scaring you, don’t worry, there’s so much more to expect from the Open than 5 workouts that will leave you gasping for air.


THE COMMUNITY

Within our gym, these are some of the most anticipated Saturdays of the year, with big turnouts every week. To add to the fun, the Slipstream Open gives everyone a chance to compete for points based on participation and spirit, rather than time or reps.  Read about this year’s Slipstream Open HERE. Also, you’ll have a judge to count your reps and cheer you on as the workout gets tough. You’ll be surprised how motivating this is. It’s also a chance for you to socialize and connect with your coaches and fellow members after the workouts, with events like the Chili Cook Off on February 24th.

However, the special thing about the Open is that the community extends far beyond our gym as we get the chance to be a part of the worldwide CrossFit community. Every CrossFit gym in the world will be doing the same workouts as you for the next 5 weeks, giving you the sense that what we do here extends far beyond the front door of the gym.


THE FEELING

While the workouts and community are enough to make the Open special, the sense of accomplishment after completing an Open workout is the main attraction. For many of us, the atmosphere during these workouts will help us reach a level of intensity we didn’t know we had. There might be a movement you’ve never done and an Open workout might give you the perfect opportunity to get your first one. It’s also a chance to reflect on how much progress you’ve made in the past year and see how your work in the gym is paying off.  I have found nothing else that can lead me to surprise myself and increase my self-confidence more than the CrossFit Open, regardless of how the workouts go.

Related: Measuring Progress Off the Scale 

Hopefully this post answered some of your questions related to the thing called the Open that everyone won’t stop talking about. But to really get a feel for what this is all about, make sure to make it in every Saturday the next 5 weeks to take part in the Open for yourself.

–Jay Alexander

Coach/Trainer

jay@crossfitslipstream.com

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